Asperger Self-Help Author an Aspie Herself

Health People

Liane Holliday Willey

Liane Holliday Willey is an accomplished woman by any standards. She holds a doctorate in education, specializing in the fields of psycholinguistics and learning style differences. She’s an avid horsewoman and owns an equine boarding facility. She’s a married mother of three. She also has Asperger’s Syndrome.

In the last 12 years she’s written several widely acclaimed self-help books for those with the syndrome as well as their families. She is the Senior Editor of Autism Spectrum Quarterly and a popular keynote speaker. Her books offer more than hope to the Asperger community. They offer insight, practical skills, and a variety of applicable suggestions for managing everyday life.

Her first book, Pretending to Be Normal: Living With Asperger’s Syndrome, describes growing up undiagnosed. As a child she struggled with extreme aversion when people came too close, and had great difficulty tolerating noise, unfamiliar places, and disruption in routines. She thought obsessive-compulsive disorder, literal thinking, math dyslexia, and sensory integration disorder were part of her “personality.” Her problems became more obvious when she left home for college. But it wasn’t until one of her children was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome that Willey recognized her own issues with “social action impairments, narrow interests, an insistence on repetitive routines, speech and language peculiarities, non-verbal communication problems, and motor clumsiness.” Pretending to Be Normal reads like an information-filled memoir, but the real strength of the book can be found in the appendices. There Aspies will find concrete suggestions for dealing with employment issues, sensory perceptions problems, and making conversation. Neurotypicals will find useful points for understanding those on the spectrum.

Willey’s second book, Asperger Syndrome in the Family Redefining Normal: Redefining Normal, is an honest and touching account of her family life as it wraps around her daughter’s and her own Asperger’s Syndrome. Like her first book, this is filled with information that can be illuminating as well as practical.

Read the rest of Laura Grace Weldon’s review over at GeekMom.

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